Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

1

To whom the angel. Therefore what he gives
(Whose praise be ever sung) to man in part 405
Spiritual, may of purest spi'rits be found
No' ingrateful food : and food alike those pure
ļntelligential substances require,
As doth your rational; and both contain
Within them every lower faculty

410
Of senfe, whereby they hear, fee, smell, touch, taste,
Taiting concoct, digelt, assimilate,
And corporeal to incorporeal turn.
For know, whatever was created, needs
To be fustain's and fed; of elements

415
The grosser feeds the purer, carth the sea,
Earth and the fea feed air, the air those fires
Ethereal, and as lowest first the moon;
Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurg'd
Vapours not yet into her substance turn'd.
Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale
From her moist continent to higher orbs.
The sun, that light imparts to all, receives
From all his alimental recompense
In humid exhalations, and at even

425
Sups with the ocean. Though in Heaven the trees
Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines
Yield nectar; though from off the boughs each morn
We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground
Cover'd with pearly grain : yet God hath here 430
Yaried his bounty so with new delights,

[ocr errors]

420

[ocr errors]

As may compare with heaven; and to taste
Think not I shall be nice. So down they fat,
And to their viands fell; nor seemingly
The angel, nor in mist, the common gloss

435
Of Theologians; but with keen dispatch
Of real hunger, and concoctive heat
To transubstantiate : what redounds, transpires
Through spi'rits with ease; nor wonder; if by fire
Of sooty coal th' empiric alchemist

440 Can turn, or holds it possible to turn, Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold As from the mine. Mean while at table Eve Minister'd naked, and their flowing cups With pleasant liquors crown'd: O innocence 445 Deserving Paradife! if ever, then, Then had the sons of God excuse to' have been Enamour'd at that fight; but in those hearts Love unlibidinous reign'd, nor jealousy Was understood, the injur'd lover's hell. 450

Thus when with meats and drinks they had suffic'd, Not burden'd nature, sudden mind arose In Adam, not to let th' occasion pass Giv'n him by this great conference to know Of things above his world, and of their being 455 Who dwell in heav'n, whose excellence he saw Transcend his own so far, whose radiant forms, Divine effulgence, whose high power so far Exceeded human, and his wary speech

460

Thus to th' empyreal minister he fram'd.

Inhabitant with God, now know I well
Thy favor, in this honor done to man,
Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsaf'd
To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste,
Food not of angels, yet accepted 10,

465 As that more willingly thou couldft not seem At Heav'n's high feasts to' have fed: yet what compare?

To whom the winged hierarch reply'd. O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom All things proceed, and up to him return, 470 If not deprav'd from good, created all Such to perfection, one first matter all, Indued with various forms, various degrees Of substance, and in things that live, of life; But more refin'd, more spiritous, and pure, 475 As nearer to him plac'd or nearer tending Each in their several active spheres assign'd, Till body up to spirit work, in bounds Proportion'd to cach kind. So from the root Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves More aery, last the bright consummate flower 481 Spirits odorous breathes : flowers and their fruit, Man’s nourishment, by gradual scale sublim'd, To vital spi'rits aspire, to animal, To intellectual; give both life and sense, 485 Fancy and understanding; whence the foul Reafon receives, and reason is her being,

Discarkve, or intuitive; discourse
is oftest yours, the latter most is ours,
Difering bat in degree, of kind the fame. 490
Wonder not then, what God for you saw good
If I refuse not, but convert, as you,
To proper substance : time may come, when men
With angels may participate, and find
No inconvenient di'et, nor too light fare; 495
And from these corporal nutriments perhaps
Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit,
Impror'd by tract of time, and wing'd ascend
Ethereal, as we, or may at choice
Here or in heav'nly paradises dwell;

şco
If ye be found obedient, and retain
Unalterably firm his love entire,
Whose progeny you are. Mean while enjoy
Your fill what happiness this happy state
Can comprehend, incapable of more.

505 To whom the Patriarch of Mankind reply'd. O favourable Spi'rit, propitious Guest, Well halt thou taught the way that might direct Our knowledge, and the scale of Nature set From center to circumference whereon

510 In contemplation of created things By steps we may ascend to God. But say, What meant that caution join'd, If ye be found Obedient? Can we want obedience then To him, or poflibly his love desert,

315

Who form'd us from the dust, and plac'd us here
Full to the utmost measure of what bliss
Human desires can seek or apprehend?

To whom the angel. Son of Heav'n and Earth,
Attend; That thou art happy, owe to God; 520
That thou continuelt such, owe to thyself,
That is, to thy obedience; therein stand.
This was that caution giv’n thee; be advis’d.
God made thee perfect, not immutable;
And good he made thee, but to persevere 525
He left it in thy power; ordain'd thy will
By nature free, not over-ruld by fate
Inextricable, or stri&t necessity :
Our voluntary service he requires,
Not our necesitated; such with him

530 Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how Can hearts, not free, be try'd whether they serve Willing or no, who will but what they must By destiny, and can no other chuse? Myself and all th' angelic host, that stand 535 In light of God enthron’d, our happy state Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds; On other surety none; freely we serve, Because we freely love, as in our will To love or not; in this we stand or fall:

540 And some are fall'n, to disobedience fall’n, And fo from Heav'n to deepest Hell; O fall From what high state of bliss into what woe!

« AnteriorContinua »